In the development of ouabain inhibition of rubidium influx in human red blood cells a time lag can be detected which is a function of at least three variables: the concentrations of external sodium, rubidium, and ouabain. The inhibition is antagonized by rubidium and favored by sodium. Similar considerations could be applied to the binding of ouabain to membrane sites. The total influx of rubidium as a function of external rubidium concentration can be separated into two components: (a) a linear uptake not affected by external sodium or ouabain and not requiring an energy supply, and (b) a saturable component. The latter component, on the basis of the different effects of the aforementioned factors, can be divided into three fractions. The first is ouabain-sensitive, inhibited by external sodium at low rubidium, and requires an energy supply; this represents about 70–80% of the total uptake and is related to the active sodium extrusion mechanism. The second is ouabain-insensitive, activated by external sodium over the entire range of rubidium concentrations studied, and dependent on internal ATP; this represents about 15% of the total influx; it could be coupled to an active sodium extrusion or belong to a rubidium-potassium exchange. The third, which can be called residual influx, is ouabain-insensitive, unaffected by external sodium, and independent of internal ATP; this represents about 10–20% of the total influx.

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